A century ago, as part of his grander theory of relativity, Albert Einstein posited that gravitational waves existed. Gravity, he said, comes from the fact that spacetime—the very fabric of our universe, according to Einstein—is curved by mass. However, though scientists have seen indirect effects of these gravitational waves, these “ripples in spacetime” have never actually been documented, because they do not give off light. But they represent, in effect, the final piece in the puzzle that Einstein left behind. (Click here for a one-minute primer on what they are.)
That final piece has started clicking into place.
On Thursday morning, the National Science Foundation assembled some of science’s top minds—including those at the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO)—and announced the discovery of gravitational waves. It may be the biggest discovery in the physics field in decades, and it will change how the field is studied.
To help us understand this potentially game-changing physics discovery, the Perimeter Institute in Waterloo will host a panel discussion with some of Canada’s smartest brains. The panel, hosted by Kate Lunau, will feature Perimeter Director Neil Turok, and faculty members Luis Lehner, Mina Arvanitaki, and Latham Boyle, discussing the importance of the discovery, what it means for physics, and what new insights into our universe it will make possible. You can watch an exclusive live-stream of this event below, at 1 PM ET.